Why outdoor activity is important for young children

outdoor activity - childrenoutdoor activity - children
outdoor activity - childrenoutdoor activity - children

Why outdoor activity is important for young children

Playing outside is something that all children should enjoy, not only for the sanity of the parents (while your children make mud-pies, you can relax with a book) but also for their overall health and well-being. Children should be exposed to outdoor activity at a young age in order to keep them healthy and happy. Read on for more reasons why outdoor activity is so important for young children.


Physical exercise

Physical exercise is crucial at a young age, as it helps the muscles, bones and joints to grow at the correct rate. Children need to develop large and small motor skills and cardiovascular endurance.

You can aid this by creating an obstacle course using decking wood, old tyres and rope swings if you have the space in your garden. Physical exercise will also help with any weight problems your children may be experiencing. Your children will also build their physical skills, such as climbing and running while playing outside with friends.


The outdoors contribute to learning

More than just enjoying physical activity, your children can learn about the world and about nature while playing outdoors. They will discover plants and animals that they may not have seen before, and their social and cognitive abilities will be improved while playing outdoors with friends.

Children are more likely to invent games while out of doors, and will better be able to express themselves and what they learn about the world in their own way. They will feel safe and in control, promoting autonomy, decision-making and even organisational skills. Inventing rules for outdoor games will educate your children on why rules are necessary for the world to function correctly.


Enjoyment and appreciation of nature

Allowing your children to play outdoors will foster an appreciation and enjoyment of nature. As Lord Nuffield once said, ‘The best preparation for adulthood is to have a full and enjoyable childhood,’ meaning that outdoor play will make for a robust and well-rounded childhood.

Outside there are many exciting sights, sounds, smells and textures which children can learn to appreciate from a young age. Playing in nature will also teach them that they need to protect this precious resource. They will learn things such as how trees look in the different seasons, what flowers grow at certain times of the year and what weather to expect in certain months.


Learning about their own energy levels

When children play, they will discover what their own energy levels are and when they have surpassed them. This is heightened when playing outdoors because of the different types of activities, such as running, jumping, swinging and climbing trees.

To learn about the physical world and about their own energy levels, children must be able to push themselves to acceptable limits to see how their bodies and minds react. Your children will also spend their pent up energy after being inside, allowing you to be able to relax in the evenings with a happily tuckered-out child, sleeping peacefully in bed.


Urban spaces can provide education too

Not everyone has access to green parks or lush botanical gardens, and will have to make do with an urban environment for their children to play in. This does not mean playing in the streets, but rather making use of open spaces such as nearby fields or the gardens of community centres.

Urban playgrounds, such as parks or community gardens offer a unique perspective to children who live in a built-up area. They will be able to see how nature and man interact with one another, and how built-up areas have affected the nature around them. You could look on your local government website for a list of free parks in your area if you do not have access to a community garden, and if you live in a complex, allow your children to play on the community lawn under your supervision.


Fresh air curbs bacteria and viruses

Anyone who works with groups of children knows how quickly viruses and bacteria can spread from child to child. One way to curb this is to introduce children to lots of fresh air with outdoor playtime.

Outdoor play allows the infectious agents to spread out and be dissipated, keeping your child healthier and less likely to become ill. Exposing your children to germs that occur in nature, such as dirt, mud and grass is actually good for their immune system and can boost their health significantly. Children who take part in outdoor activities are also more likely to remain active and this encourages a strong immune system.


It allows children to be children

Outdoor play is an enriching experience for children and allows them to be children to their fullest extent. Whether it be creating games with their friends, running through a home-made obstacle course or simply swinging from a tyre-swing looking at the clouds, playing outside will keep them healthy and happy. You will find that your children have healthier immune systems and that their creative energy is used in a constructive manner. They will learn about the world and even how to conserve nature, so set up a playdate with the great outdoors and watch your children flourish.

outdoor activity - children